Forcing City Hall to Care

By Jason Leach
Published April 14, 2005

CHML reports that Ontarios Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing wants to give more powers to local cities to help them with their growth plans.

In a recent speech to the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, John Gerretsen spoke about the need for urban infill and brownfield redevelopments as being crucial to the future of the GTA. Nowhere is this more true than in Hamilton.

However, the biggest surprise delivered by Minister Gerretsen was the idea that local city councils should have the authority to approve urban boundary expansions without all of the current provincial restrictions getting in the way.

No matter how you slice it, if this amendment to the Planning Act were to become reality it would be nothing but bad news for Hamilton.

Until now, the provincial regulations have been the only thing keeping our council from sprawling with as low a density as possible between here and Lake Erie.

Mr. Gerretsen's speech may have been appropriate in front of a more progressive audience, but in Hamilton I'm sure everyone left the Chamber meeting giddy at the prospect of never having to touch an inner city piece of land again and just rolling across the countryside like a summer thunderstorm.

Let's hope that there is more to this story than Minister Gerretsen filled us in on today. Hamilton's future depends on upper levels of government forcing city hall to care about and redevelop the downtown and entire plethora of lower city brownfields.

Left to themselves you can forget about it.

Jason Leach was born and raised in the Hammer and currently lives downtown with his wife and children. You can follow him on twitter.


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